Choosing the right microphone for your stream is essential. Even if you put a lot of effort into the background, video quality, and editing, it all comes to nothing if sound quality isn’t up to scratch. Your viewers need to hear you, after all, but with so many different microphones on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here’s a rundown of the most common types.
These are the most common type of streaming microphones available. Their popularity is down to a few factors. First and foremost, they’re the cheapest type on the market, so they’re a fantastic entry-level piece of kit. Better still, there are lots of different models available so you’re certain to find something that matches your budget.
Dynamic microphones are capable of some rough handling, so they’re great if you need a portable solution. They’re also renowned for what’s known as their “lively” sound. Dynamic microphones can handle a range of sounds and give your recording a bright, vibrant, and friendly tone.
Condenser microphones are heavy-duty pieces of recording equipment. They’re normally more expensive than dynamic microphones and they output a more professional sound that some streamers prefer. Condenser microphones are used in recording studios and on the radio, so they offer a deep, sonorous tone that’s perfect for serious topics or recordings.
Other streamers prefer the livelier sound of a dynamic mic, but that’s just a matter of taste. Condensers certainly sound more professional, but you’ll need a quiet environment. They’re extremely sensitive and will pick up even the quietest of background noises – which can be enough to ruin a whole recording! That sensitivity, however, makes them perfect for more professional videos that include adverts and stream overlays.
A blast from the past, ribbon microphones was used in the earliest days of recording. They’re nowadays prized for their warm, vintage sound. The tone of a ribbon microphone is immediately identifiable and has a special character all of its own. The tradeoff is expense and fragility. Ribbon mics are incredibly sensitive and therefore extremely easy to break.
Even plugging them into the wrong phantom power can be enough to fry the ribbon itself, rendering the microphone useless. Although their sound is pleasingly nostalgic, they certainly aren’t the choice if you’re buying a microphone with portability in mind.
In build Microphones
Nearly all devices, from laptop computers to smartphones and tablets, nowadays come with some kind of in-built microphone setup. It can be tempting to use these (essentially free) solutions but there are some major drawbacks. None of them come close to matching the sound quality of even the cheapest dynamic mic.
They don’t capture highs and lows well and are prone to interference and crackle. If, however, you can put that to one side, the big advantage of these microphones is their sheer convenience. They’re built into your device so transferring a recording to editing software is much easier.
Featured image: Neumann.